I was listening to the Bridgehead Radio Show the other day, and something in Jonathon’s discussion with Douglas Murray struck me. Towards the end of the conversation Jonathon mentioned a conversation he had with Mark Steyn, where Steyn said that a particular question was only asked because an atheist appeared to be a more muscular Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury. When I heard this, I was reminded of an experience I had last year, while attending a Christian university.
One of my minors was in psychology, and I was enrolled in a methods of counselling class. It was a fascinating course, one of my favourites I would say, but there were several discussions that I struggled with. When we were split into groups to discuss issues that would be difficult to deal with as Christians, I was not surprised that another group had been given the scenario of a pregnant girl seeking abortion. What would they tell her? How would they support her? What, as Christians, should they do?
Nothing productive, it turns out, as the groups convened and shared how they would deal with the circumstance they were given. “I would try to support her in doing whatever she needs to do. I don’t agree with abortion, but we are told not to judge,” one girl said.
“Shaming people doesn’t help anything,” another girl agreed.
General agreement came from the class:
“We can’t make that decision for them.”
“It’s not our job to make them believe what we believe, we just need to be there for them.”
“There are times when abortion is just something they have to do, we can’t force anything.”
I’ll admit, I was angry. I had seen the signs of apathy in the university while trying to run a pro-life club. Abortion was controversial even there, and people really didn’t want to rock the boat. Most would have professed to be pro-life. Many would have had an exception or two, and some were pro-choice. For many, loving—at least when it came to this issue—was ultimately about making sure everyone was comfortable and felt good about themselves.
The idea of love and acceptance meaning that we must tolerate actions that are horribly, terribly wrong has infiltrated every facet of our society. When I had a chance to speak I tried to ask some important questions. Do we believe abortion is wrong? Because if we do, then we know it’s going to hurt, not only the precious pre-born child, but the woman who has the abortion. If we know something is harmful, isn’t it the job of a counsellor to counsel against this action?
Whatever happened to tough love? What happened to people telling you that you have to do the right thing, no matter how hard it is, simply because it is right? Why do many no longer see that what may seem as an easy solution in the short-term, will lead to long-term consequences? How is it more loving to comfort people on their route of self-destruction, rather than tell them the honest truth, however difficult it is to hear? If we don’t firmly stand up for what we believe in, how can we expect to make a difference?
As Martin Luther King Jr. said:
On some positions cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.